Please Note: This Article is 11 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.

FAMILIES on housing benefit face homelessness as private landlords shun them following changes to the law.

Since the introduction of the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) in April growing numbers of landlords are losing out on rent; and the situation is worsening as the credit crunch takes hold.

Landlord Action director Paul Shamplina, who helps landlords recover their properties from bad tenants, believes LHA is a mistake and has called for an urgent review. “The government idea was to make private sector tenants more financially independent and learn to manage their own money, so the housing benefit is now paid directly to them. But the simple truth is, when times are bad paying the rent is not a priority for many tenants and there are many now who are just not passing it on to their landlord.”

Previously, tenants could elect to have the council pay their rent directly to the landlord but this is no longer an option unless the tenant falls behind with the rent or is identified through representation as being unlikely to pay it.

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Shamplina has seen a huge increase in the number of landlords coming to him for help in the last two months. He explains: “The rules say that if tenants withhold their rent landlords can apply to the local authority to have it paid to them, but by then it can be months in arrears.”

Providing evidence isn’t always straightforward. Parmi Janagle from Sutton Coldfield near Birmingham is a property portfolio manager and approached Landlord Action for help after experiencing first hand problems with LHA.

He says: “This was not a well thought out idea. The government wanted to empower tenants but it has had a counter effect. To assist local authorities identify cases where direct payment should be made there has to be evidence, by for example showing there is a County Court Judgement against the tenant or that the tenant has addiction issues backed up by a doctor’s letter.”

Things like this all take time and meanwhile the rent arrears continue to build up.

“The reality of the situation is that many landlords who used to let to housing benefit tenants are thinking twice and now will not make their properties available to them,” says Mr Janagle.

“This is a problem of the government’s own making,” says Mr Shamplina. “And both tenants and landlords are suffering as a result. Things can only get worse now because of the credit crunch. There should be an urgent review of LHA.”

Landlord Action, founded in 1999, is the original and longest-serving fixed fee tenant eviction service in Great Britain. Landlords with problem tenants can find professional advice fast on the website www.landlordaction.co.uk or by calling 0845 8110011.

Landlord Action, founded in 1999, is the original and longest-serving fixed fee tenant eviction service in Great Britain. www.landlordaction.co.uk

Please Note: This Article is 11 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.

11 COMMENTS

  1. Typical isn\’t it. These little beaurocrats that don\’t live in the real world didn\’t even have sufficient insight to see the problems their new little rule would cause !

  2. The Labour left finally getting their way and freezing out the nasty money-grabbing private landlords. I will not and have not ever let to HP tenants, now I know I was doing the right thing.

  3. Before this year started,This lha was trailed I think last September, I was talking to several landlords, they all agreed that this would turn out to be \’a thieves charter\’. Increasing rent defaults and with the already lengthy process to regain posession, can lead to the loss of almost a year\’s income from any letting unit. Add to this the chances that a person who wont pay their rent is also quite likely to treat the property with very little respect. Who can blame the landlords?

  4. Hi. brief as i can i\’d like to say that we\’re not all layabouts. i work p/t as a cleaner but need HB to make up the difference to my rent. I\’m 23 yrs old and get less HB than if i were 25 which means even most 1 bed flats are beyond my money. isnt that an injustice, using age not circumstances to work out someones rent allowance? this means im stuck at my local ymca coz the council havent helped me at all. ive been on their list for over 3 yrs and wont even fit their priority needs list even wen the ym chuck me out any time now as i\’ve overstayed. if ur a pregnant girl, a large family, ex orphan, ex forces, ex con, pisshead, junkie, mentally ill, disabled, or over 60, then they will help u more than me. if u screw up ur life they throw help at u, try to help urself and they do nothing. sorry 2 make this comment so long.

  5. well this site has made interesting reading, i take particular exception to the layabouts comment…. Tell me why its ilegal to descriminate against people based on colour creed nationality and disability yet its socailly acceptable to descriminate against people on Housing Benefits.Its very easy for some people to look down from their sucessful lives and denigrate those below.Lets face it in the real world there are some landlords who have in the past got rich on the backs of housing benefit claimants and some tenants who have proved to be a nightmarefor all sorts of reasons.I wouldnt assume all landlords are bad and i dont accept the assumptions made about me because i am on benefits.Employed people may lose their jobs where does the landlord stand then? at least housing benefit is paid regularly once its sorted. I was formerly employed as a Professional Manager then Health and Safety for local council, I now claim Housing Benefits from the same town hall where i worked. Being on housing benefits has not changed the person I am, i still pay my bills, live a decent life in a tidy home with my 2 children why the hell am i not given the opportunity to live in a place of choice ??? why is it ok to automatically descriminate against me??? I am a single parent (recently divorced) bringing up 2 children on benefits, no i am not a layabout,scounger,dirty,non payer but i dont get the opportunity to live in a decent property because I am automatically dis qualified from applying because im on housing benefits.there are always two sides to a story and i hope some landlords read this and realise what goes around comes around!.

  6. i have lost about £10000.00 with tenants not handing over rent. as a 40% tax payer this also means tax man is losing out on 40% of this £10000.00.but this brain dead government did not think of these things

  7. I did not know my tenant was on housing benefit as he only went on it after he moved his wife and child in. He has been there for three years but i now need my flat back for personal reasons. He will not move and I am having to go through the courts also he has stopped paying his rent and the council are still paying him housing benefit. How can this be right if they were in council accommodation it would be paid directly to the council why should it be different for private landlords. By the way I am not greedy but do have bills to pay.

  8. I agree with everything Paul Shamplina has stated in his report about LHA, what a shambles. Since inception (April 08) I personally am thousands \”out of pocket\” and I am especially concerned at this time of year(Christmas), last year a substantial amount of LHA funding provided to my tenants for \”the roof over their heads\” was spent on presents for the children, flat screen TVs and alcohol, leaving me with no rent, but with mortgages to service!

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